What are your car wash options?

Keeping your car cleaned both inside and out is an important part of being a Rideshare Driver.  Riders notice when your car is clean and they really notice when a car is dirty. They may not say anything while riding with you but they will definitely let you know with their rating.  

Doing your own car washes is obviously the most economical. The problem is many drivers live in urban areas without access to a hose and a power outlet for a vacuum. 

Filling up your car at a gas station and then adding on a car wash where available can work but too often the gas station car wash is low quality and over time will scratch your car’s clear coat, lowering your car’s resale value. Wash your car in these car washes at your own risk. 

Taking your car to a dedicated car wash location is more expensive but does provide a better result. There are two types: cloth, and touchless options. I prefer locations that offer a touchless wash. Search for a place that offers a monthly fee for unlimited cleaning inside and out. Howstuffworks explains the difference between these two. I Googled my favorite spot and checked their reviews before making a commitment. 

The final option is a mobile car wash service. This is the most expensive option with prices starting at $49.00 per wash or more. They bring everything – including the water – making it very convenient. These companies often do oil changes for an additional fee so this may be the perfect option for you.

Remember that whichever method you choose, the costs can all be tax deductible.  Please make sure you keep good records throughout the year. 

Friday: You were just involved in a car accident, what do you do?

What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare?

Everyone is talking about dash cameras for their cars, especially rideshare drivers. It is a great way to protect yourself by proving you were not at fault in an accident, proof for Uber or Lyft of an unruly rider who chose not to wear a mask or is acting inappropriately, evidence of your actions if you were pulled over by the police and so much more.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to buying a dashcam, so what are some of the features that you may want to have?

Price – DashCam models can start out at $50. and move on up to more than $400,. but some of the features you may want as a rideshare drive can be found in the $200 range. 

Easy installation – No one wants to read a book or need a computer science degree in order to install your camera in your car and the app on your phone.

Video quality – 720p is pretty standard but you might want to consider 1080p which would allow you to zoom in on a face or license plate. Some models in the upper price range are now offering 4k but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Parking Mode – We all have to leave our cars unattended from time to time. This mode will automatically start recording the moment it senses a vibration.

Dual Cameras – You also want a model that has a camera facing forward to record any kind of traffic incidents you may encounter and one that is rear facing to catch the activities of an unruly rider. 

Wireless streaming  – This is a nice to have feature because it allows you to view footage from your camera without having to remove a memory card. 

Dash cams can be found at many of the big box stores or online. For this kind of purchase I like Costco because of their excellent return policy, and they never charge a restocking fee! However, they do require you to pay a membership fee.

Wednesday: Car Wash Subscriptions

Are you required to notify your passengers they are being recorded?

For rideshare drivers, dash-cams play an important role in safety. Having one in your car can protect you from false liability claims when in an accident. They can also protect you from a false claim made by a rider to their rideshare platform about you.

With so much at risk, it’s easy to understand why more and more drivers are installing them in their cars. But what about your legal responsibilities when it comes to the rider’s right to privacy? According to Wiley.com’s online library, 16 states require two-party notification whenever recording. Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington. This means drivers need to let riders know that they are being recorded in their cars. Amazon has a lot of signage options you can use to let your riders know.

If you are currently in the market for a dash-cam, check out the July 20th blog post where we reviewed what to look for when making this purchase.

Monday: What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare?

Tax prep time

2021 is finally here and with that comes hopes for a better year. Unfortunately, another thing that comes to mind is taxes. For Digital Platform workers(rideshare and food delivery drivers), 2020 was a year full of challenges and your tax return for this year will likely be challenging as well. 

The key to removing some of the stress of filing is record keeping. Your filing date this year is Thursday, April 15th, giving you 4 1/2 months to prepare. Start gathering your records now if you haven’t done so already.. 

According to Turbotax you want to have records for;

  • Car mileage accrued while driving for rideshare. This includes all of your mileage from the moment you turn on the app to when you went offline.
  • Car maintenance receipts
  • Operating expenses like your cellphone bill. (If you use this phone for both rideshare and personal use, you can only claim a portion of this expense.)
  • Business permit fees for rideshare
  • Anything you purchase for your riders like water, gum, or even cleaning supplies used to clean up after your riders.

A great tip is to have a credit card that you use specifically for all of your operating expenses.

One last thing to consider is Unemployment Insurance and any money you received from PPP. According to the US Chamber your PPP loan is not taxable even if it is forgiven but your UI is. Make sure you have this information on file.

Putting in the work now will help make 2021 a great year!

Wednesday: Dash cams…are you required to notify your passengers they are being recorded?

50 car maintenance hacks

We are all looking for ways to save money. As rideshare drivers, one of the biggest expenses is car maintenance. Even though we can write these expenses off of our taxes, no one wants to spend more than they have to.

One of these easiest ways to save money is to do the work ourselves. Home Hacks offers up to 50 car maintenance hacks that anyone can do. They include using hand sanitizer on frozen car door locks, nail polish on a chipped windshield, Coca-Cola on rusty rims, and more. Most are easy remedies to many of the problems we all face. Even though these hacks are inexpensive, remember that anything you purchase for this purpose is tax-deductible.

Monday: Tax prep time